Friday 21 May 2021
New major exhibition All That Was Solid Melts features work by leading international contemporary artists and opens at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki from Saturday 5 June.
Gallery Director Kirsten Lacy says the exhibition was devised during 2020 as a way to give something comforting and sensuous to visitors after a year of collective upheaval and anxiety about the future.
‘This exhibition offers a journey through a range of emotional states which are felt during significant change, whilst also offering a chance to contemplate, regroup and reimagine beyond the crisis experienced,’ she says.
The exhibition showcases original works by leading international artists whose art has never been seen before in Aotearoa, as well as that by some of New Zealand’s most significant modernists.
‘All That Was Solid Melts includes major works by some of the world’s leading contemporary names such as Pipilotti Rist, Tacita Dean, Pierre Huyghe, Douglas Gordon, Katie Paterson and many more,’ says Lacy.
Joined by historical works of significance from Auckland Art Gallery’s own collection, including etchings by Giovanni Battista Piranesi and the work of modernist artist Paul Nash, it is a rich and trans-historical exhibition. Demonstrating the power of art to reflect and absorb the human condition across time, the exhibition takes the viewer on a visual journey to encounter states of being.
Curator Juliana Engberg says while we don’t know what the future holds, we can use what the Gallery offers to help get through this.
‘Throughout history there have been many times of difficulty and, as a collective, we find ways to get through them – albeit not without deep loss and grief. Art, in particular, can be a way to help regenerate. Within disaster also sits the future, and we wanted to reflect that in All That Was Solid Melts,’ says Engberg.
Engberg explains the exhibition is at once historical, modern and contemporary.
‘The selection of work segues between styles, eras and epochs and indicates a wide expanse of time that makes it feel lush and sensuous,’ she says.
Juliana believes the exhibition offers the viewer a chance to connect with expressions of solitude, grief, anxiety, calamity, ideas of time and restoration.
‘Devised during the Covid-19 lockdown, the exhibition travels along an emotional trajectory, resting on moments of metaphor and symbols of regrowth and release,’ she says.
Engberg says through the exhibition journey we are all the time accompanied by the consolations of art, aesthetics and beauty as imagined through the minds of artists.
‘This exhibition is a travel through time, ruins and fragmentations in which life and humanity are once again reasserted, emerging as resilient, rejuvenated and set free from worry,’ she says.
All That Was Solid Melts is presented with the support of major partner AUT.